Terafyn from South Gale and Grizzly Machine had a plot so fascinating and gameplay so fun that I played for five hours! (I do not recommend doing this as sleep is important.)
With easy gameplay, no grinding, and no spending real money (except to unlock an episode), this mobile episodic card adventure is perfect for casual mobile game players while still interesting enough to keep the seasoned player’s attention.
A Hero’s Adventure
Like most mobile RPGs, you play as the hero, who has no idea what their origin is. I use “their” because the game never genders the player, which is great attention to detail. Terafyn starts with the hero sent to find a plant in the forest with their father Betyn Thorne and of course immediately runs into trouble from a creepy dark voice! Turns out he’s a follower of Aros, a harsh god whose sister Oni sacrificed herself to lock him away. Oops.
The main story in Terafyn slowly unfolds with numerous side quests tied to the history and lore of the world. The game keeps track of the various quests and side adventures that the hero and other characters go on together to help plot the next course of action.
Gameplay is pretty straightforward. You tap different locations to complete tasks as part of the quests. In some cases you might be prompted to steal items or do other actions, and when doing so only succeed based on the level of your specialty; might, ruse, or arcane.
You have to “roll” (automated) within the range listed in the action to succeed, which helps move you forward. In some cases you can come back to try again, but most of the time if you fail, you’re out of luck.
Players can choose which action they wish to attempt and should strategize when doing so. In the example above, Betyn is in the party and has provided the player support in both might and arcane, but the player is strongest in ruse. However, might and arcane only need 1-3 so it’s more likely to go the player’s way.
The game also involves working your way through a massive map of the world that unfolds as you finish quests. You must move from one gold dot to the next as you go to different locations. One of the draws to the game is how absolutely vast the world of Terafyn is!
Battles in this game involve a unique spinner and rune card-based play experience. The 3-spinner system and 3 specialties play a key role in your ability to win battles because each specialty has its own set of rune cards. You start the game with a few but can purchase and win more in specific quests as the game progresses.
As seen in the gif above, you must pick one of three cards per attack period. In most cases you can also choose to escape.
If any part of the spinner stops on a miss, then your attack or defense are almost always pointless and you’ve wasted that turn. On the other hand if it stops in the beige or red, you’re good to go and will likely do some damage. When someone is in your party they can boost your abilities so it’s important to be strategic about who you equip when. Fortunately in each battle you can click where the spinner will stop every few turns which helps in most cases! It’s a total pain though when you hit miss regularly.
I stayed up until 5am playing the game, which is a testament to its story and how much I wanted to finish episode 1 so that I could learn more about my character and the world. However I have to admit that not having an autobattle feature like the kind that exists in other games totally frustrated me. There were plenty of battles where I felt that clicking through the runes was a waste of my time. Obviously autobattle should be disabled during boss or major plot related battles, but clicking through the battles every single time was a total pain.
On the other hand the specialty leveling up was really great. You have no idea when the game will give you another level to assign to a specialty (pick one and stick to it) which adds a level of strategizing.
Honestly, where this game shines is how intriguing the story is. Most if not all mobile RPGs with stories follow a hero setting off to save the world from something or another. It’s clear the writers took their time to craft an interesting and entertaining story where the side characters all get to stand on their own.
Additionally, Terafyn is actually one of the prettiest mobile RPGs that I’ve played and the only drawback is that the characters don’t get full body models. Though Betyn does get used as an example on Twitter.
Finally the music in this game provides the perfect ambiance in each scene. My only other complaint is that you can’t toggle the sound effects off and keep the soundtrack.
Overall, I really enjoyed playing the game and will definitely play again from the prologue now that I know more about the quests, and for $2.12 (so far), even without more episodes, I definitely think you can get hours and hours of play! As someone who has spent much more than that (but not a ton) on games like Candy Crush Saga, this is definitely a better use of that money. Hopefully more episodes will release since it’s very clear from the Terafyn site that the developers have planned quite a lot of adventure and story.
Images courtesy of South Gale and Grizzly Media
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